Life Under The Taliban

According to the U.S. Department of State: "Since the Taliban became a military and political force in late 1994, women and girls in Afghanistan have become virtually invisible in Taliban controlled portions of the country. The impact of Taliban imposed restrictions are most acutely felt in the cities where women had enjoyed relatively greater freedoms. In 1996, the University of Kabul reportedly had several thousand women students while thousands of professional women worked in different capacities in the city. Since the Taliban takeover, women are not allowed to attend school and others have been forced to leave their jobs.

The Taliban have issued edicts forbidding women from working outside the home, except in limited circumstances in the medical field. Hardest hit have been over 30,000 widows in Kabul and others elsewhere in the country, who are the sole providers for their families.
The percentage of women in occupations before the Taliban forbade women in almost all of these positions: (Now Foundation)

60% of teachers at Kabul University
50% of students at Kabul University
50% of civilians in the government workforce
70% of school teachers
40% of doctors

The Taliban prohibit girls from attending school. There are a few home based schools and some schools in rural areas which quietly operate to educate girls. They fear closure.

Women and girls are not allowed to appear outside the home unless wearing a head to toe covering called the burqa. A three inch square opening covered with mesh provides the only means for vision. Although the burqa was worn in Kabul before the Taliban took control, it was not an enforced dress code and many women wore only scarves that cover the head. Women are also forbidden from appearing in public with a male who is not their relative.

Women’s and girls’ access to medical services has been drastically cut back. Women are treated primarily by female doctors and the number of female doctors has been greatly reduced. It is also dangerous for women to leave their homes. For example, one mother in the city of Farah reportedly was shot by the Taliban militia for appearing in public to take her toddler to a doctor. The child was acutely ill and needed immediate medical attention.

Taliban militia mete out punishment for violations of these rules on the spot. For example, women have been beaten on the street if an inch of ankle shows under their burqa. They have been beaten if they are found to move about without an explanation acceptable to the Taliban. They have been beaten if they make noise when they walk. According to one report, a women struggling with two small children and groceries in her arms was reportedly beaten by the Taliban with a car antenna because she had let her face covering slip a fraction.

Taliban edicts require that windows in houses that have female occupants be painted over."

According to the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA):

"Thousands of Afghan war-widows have no other option but to beg to save their children from hunger. Most people call Kabul "the city of beggars". Taliban flog these ill-fated women in the streets because most of them have to leave their houses without a Mahram (close male relative), which is un-Islamic according to Taliban."

However, it is not only women who suffer under the regime of the Taliban:

Claiming that they are restoring Afghanistan to the "purity of Islam," the Taliban regime has "expunged all leisure activities. Their list of what is illegal grows daily: music, movies and television, picnics, wedding parties, New Year celebrations, any kind of mixed-sex gathering. They've also banned children's toys, including dolls and kites; card and board games; cameras; photographs and paintings of people and animals; pet parakeets; cigarettes and alcohol; magazines and newspapers, and most books. They've even forbidden applause -- a moot point, since there's nothing left to applaud."
Jan Goodwin, Echo NYC

Acceptable punishments for these infractions are public hangings, amputation of limbs, and stonings. The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) documents the atrocities committed against the Afghanistan people, including the mass murder of citizens, the rape and murder of women, the looting of the meager resources of the people, flogging, amputation of limbs, and more. These can be viewed at www.rawa.org

Even in Iran, often considered one of the most radical Islamic country in the world, the Islamics regard the Taliban's version of Islam as critically dangerous.

On August 11, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted by the Iran Weekly Digest as saying about the Taliban: "What is being done in our neighbourhood in the name of Islam by a bunch unaware of this religion, is neither connected to Islam nor accepted by its' principles...They are the best example for what is called reactionary, prejudiced and far from human realities."

The Iran Weekly Digest went on quote a western diplomat as stating: "Iran is trying, at least since the presidency of (Mohammad) Khatami (last August), to give Islam a better image world-wide, and Taleban is doing everything to make Islam a religion of war and bloodshed."


Echo NYC, Jan Goodwin
Iran Weekly Digest
Now Foundation
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
The U.S. State Department: Women and Girls in Afghanistan

Photos were taken from Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)

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